- Name: on-the-rocks
- Location: Atlanta, GA area, United States
Discussions of geology, beer, and other things of interest.
My Other Blogs
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geosciblog Continuing Series
Newly-Found Geology/Science Blogs (Early-2009 to Mid-2011)
Newly-Found/Newly-Linked Blogs (Mid-2008 to Mid-2011)
Newly-Found Blogs (Late 2007)
Talk Radio-Related Websites
Science-Related (Including Global Warming Skeptics) blogs/Websites
Global Warming/Current Paradigm & Other Science Blogs/Websites
Not Ready for Facebook
Oh, By the Way, Happy New Year
Another Climate Change Rant
Hoplophobia - the New Word for the Day
Tiny Lund, a NASCAR Legend
A Few Debate Tactics for Conservatives/Libertarian...
A Facebook Challenge....
Recent PostsStill Here
Not Ready for Facebook
Oh, By the Way, Happy New Year
Another Climate Change Rant
Hoplophobia - the New Word for the Day
Tiny Lund, a NASCAR Legend
A Few Debate Tactics for Conservatives/Libertarian...
A Facebook Challenge....
GeologicalScienceBlog - subjects include Geology, Climatology, Environmental Science, NASCAR, Beer, Property Rights, Random Thoughts, & Politics from a Christian Conservative/Libertarian/pragmatist viewpoint. As a Dad & Grandad, I am concerned about the overgrowth of government at the expense of freedom. Background - two degrees in Geology (BS '77, MS '90), started studying Geology beginning Senior Year of high school (1971 - 1972) <68>
Monday, October 31, 2005
A Few Thoughts from Boortz (On Air) and Nealz Nuze
Most of the Lib/Leftists believe the American public is wilfully ignorant about what it takes to bring crude oil from the wellhead to the gas station. And they take advantage of that.
Because the big "Oil Crash" of the 1980s happened when I was in graduate school, the oil company jobs for geologists dried up, so I have never worked on an oil rig, but I have visited a couple of them while on grad school field trips and have known people that have worked on rigs.
When I was in NW Oklahoma for Christmas a couple of years ago, there was a rig working within sight of town. On Christmas night it was 11 degrees and blowing snow, and the roughnecks and roustabouts continued to work that rig and others in the area. That is what they do. That is where some of the profits go during times of higher crude prices. Oilfield jobs, by the thousands in North America. "Mom and Pop" oilfield service and supply businesses by the hundreds in places like Woodward, OK. When Hillary wants to suck $20 billion out of the system through higher taxes and fees, these are the ones that will be most hurt, as companies trim back their exploration budgets.
I am not naive enough to think that oil companies are angels. Businesses tend to do what is in their best interest. That is why we have checks and balances. That is why we have the legal system. The vast majority of employees are everyday citizens, as are the investors that make the system work.
It ain't what Hillary sez it is. It ain't what Steven Segal shows in his movies. It is the free-market system with its warts for all the world to see. And it works when politicians leave it alone.
As the MSM & Lib/Leftists Attempt to Turn a Teapot Tempest...
And what did Sandy Berger steal and destroy from the National Archives?
And why isn't the MSM saying anything about "Able Danger"?
In the meantime, Phyllis Chesler, at FrontPageMag.com reminds us of the true stakes in this War on Terror, in which we have lost significant forward momentum because of the infighting.
Al Qaida loves it. So does Hamas. And Hezbollah. And Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. And the Islamic Brotherhood. And all of the others that we have not yet met, on our own soil.
Just a Short Pause
- We are having a short stretch of warm weather here, so I need to try to get to some outdoor home-painting projects before colder weather gets here.
- I need to clean out the gutters.
- I prefer to give exams in all three of my classes during the same week, so I have to finish writing two of the exams. And preparing lectures for the remainder of the semester.
- There are other outdoor and indoor chores that need attention, when classes permit.
- I need to work on my wife's car and mine. And I need to work on my old pickup truck ('78 Ford), just the tedious stuff, replacing plugs, plug wires, distributor, points, condenser, recharge the battery, yada, yada. It is easier now than when it is cold.
- Figuring out how we can afford to go to Oklahoma for Christmas to see my wife's parents and her grandmothers and other assorted relatives.
- I'm depressed, no single reason, just an accumulation of stuff. Discouragement feeds upon itself.
- Wrestling with my teaching future. The doors to a full-time position at my campus are closed because it is in transition to a new four-year college (with a different administration) and it seems that they primarily want PhDs (I have an MS). The changes begin this next summer and will continue for a couple of years. In the meantime, there is the concern over how many classes I will get (as a part-timer) in the Winter Semester, one, two, or three? Am I better off concentrating on the pool-cover second job? Right now the two schedules conflict. And despite what one might think, there is activity in the pool cover business during the winter. Another consideration is that regardless of how many classes I get, I won't get my first teaching paycheck until the end of February. Such is the life of a part-timer. I don't know when is the right to time to burn bridges. I am concerned that if I choose to sit out the Winter Semester, that might make it harder to get classes in future semesters. And if the pool cover business is still going well for my boss/friend, I would probably do better financially pursuing that during the Summer than teaching.
- Other nagging stuff, finances, etc..
Sometimes just writing stuff down helps a little. So anyway, I need a few prayers to pull myself out of this funk.
I may post a little, if something inspires me. Please check back when ya'll can.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Fair Tax Updates
Another Interesting Blog
Most of his posts are political, though included in some of the posts are suggestions on improving the Superfund Law (aka CERCLA); a bill to update our oil refinery system (HR 3893), also see this post at The Grape's Vine. Here is a link to a Mudville Gazette post on the New Orleans levees. This link concern's Tony Blair finally reaching sensibility on the futility of Kyoto. Here is a link on FEMA/Katrina foul-ups.
Above were the posts of interest, that relate to science issues in September and October. Go check out Scott's archives for other posts of interest.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Being True to Her Pedigree...
Besides the fact that the consumers usually pay these new taxes/fees (we all know what rolls downhill), it will also suck more money out of future exploration and development projects. This will have a cascading effect that will hurt hundreds, if not thousands, of "mom and pop" oilfield-related businesses in such places as Woodward, OK, Roosevelt, UT, Farmington, NM, Artesia, NM, Abilene, TX, i.e., the "flyover country" that is so foreign to Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Al Franken, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Teddy Kennedy, Al Gore,... you know, the usual suspects.
In order to develop more efficient technologies and energy sources for the future, we need a vibrant economy, now. I don't have a problem with some taxpayer-funded research through universities, but the government is not and will never be equipped to handle efficient energy production.
So, as a follow-up to Dennis Kucinich's suggestion that oil company profits be taxed at 100% to fund energy assistance for the poor...Dennis, put down the bong and walk away. The 1970s are over.
1) To "take the pulse of the public" or
2) To get the news you want by manipulating the questions or other criteria.
Yesterday's Nealz Nuze had a reminder of this.
So when, as a matter of conversation, someone quotes the results of a poll, just politely ask if they know how the questions were worded.
And to be honest, we have to show the same skepticism towards Conservative-driven polls.
Some More Thoughts on the Cycle of Increased Hurricane Activity
In July, 2001 this National Geographic News article predicted greater hurricane activity. From this article:
...""We've seen a big increase in the number of hurricanes since 1995, and in the next 30 years we're going to see a lot more," he said. "It's part of a natural cycle, and it's going to be a real eye-opening for the people living on the coasts who have never seen a hurricane before."
The findings may be a cause for concern, the researchers warn, saying those responsible for emergency preparedness and civilian safety should reevaluate current response strategies to insure they are adequate."
The article continues with:
..."By using a combination of satellite imagery, computer modeling, and high-tech monitoring of numerous factors—from sea-surface temperatures to atmospheric conditions—the team of scientists has identified a multi-decade pattern of likely hurricane activity. These long-term patterns can be classified as quiet, near normal, or active. (Studying the climate past also provides much useful information. That is an ongoing effort.)
During the 20th century, a period of high hurricane activity occurred from the 1920s through the 1960s, followed by reduced activity from 1971 to 1994.
The researchers predict that we are now on the cusp of a 10- to 40-year shift toward increased frequency of hurricanes."
Remember, these statements were made in 2001. I am 51 years of age. It is possible that this cycle of increased hurricanes may last the rest of my life. It is also possible during these cycles to have individual years of less activity, especially when El Niño conditions prevail in the Pacific Ocean. The high-altitude, westerly winds of El Niño shear the tops off of the cumulonimbus clouds that compose the Atlantic hurricanes, robbing them of some of their energy. And there is evidence that El Niño events may be related to sun spots.
The article continues with:
..."The extended period of generally reduced hurricane activity in recent years may have lulled hurricane-prone regions into a false sense of security, Landsea suggested. He said governments may need to rethink their emergency plans to determine whether they would be adequate if hurricanes in the next several decades become as severe as those of 1920 to 1960."
The parameters of the hurricane cycles may vary slightly from article to article, as interpretations may differ between different authors. So when some MSM or Lib/Leftist piece makes reference to hurricane activity since 1970, they ain't telling you the entire story.
Yes, dollar amounts of hurricane damage are up - because more people and businesses are building in coastal areas that are of low altitude and susceptible to storm-surge and rainfall-related flooding.
The hurricanes of last year and this year would have happened regardless of who was President. And many of the same snafus would have happened, but if there was a Democrat President (Gore or Kerry), there would not have been the MSM/Pundit finger-pointing. Or perhaps it might have been directed at the Republican Congress.
On the Passing of Rosa Parks - Updated
She was the right person at the right time to do the right thing. And for the sake of historical perspective, the South was controlled by Democrats at that time.
The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s was about opening doors and folks "doing the right thing." That white man that demanded her bus seat should have been "horse-whipped" for his lack of chivalry. A proper southern man would never demand that any lady (of any color) give up her bus seat.
Civil disobedience may seem the slow way to do things, but it helps illustrate the absurdity and tyranny of Jim Crow laws and entrenched prejudice. Rosa Parks illustrated this by her civil behavior. She demonstrated "who the bad guy was".
The changes would not have happened without the guidance by sensible people. Angry people with violent words and deeds would not have succeeded. Cultural evolution takes time.
When police with night sticks and dogs wade into a group of people knelt in prayer, most people can see who is being aggressive. When Bull Connor turned high-powered water hoses on people peacefully demonstrating for the right to register and vote, most people can see who is being aggressive. You can see who the bully is.
Angry, hateful, self-serving people like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Spike Lee, Charles Rangel, Cynthia McKinney, Billy McKinney, et al, could not have carried the day. Their words and deeds would have generated more backlash than there was. Riots and revenge rampages after every Civil Rights loss would have generated more backlash than there was. Even white southerners with prejudice in their hearts can see the "wrongness" of blowing up churches and killing children. Events like that engendered a "this has gone too far" attitude in many white people, but it takes time for changes-of-heart to play themselves out. Riots and revenge killings would have taken away from the moral implications of that moment in time.
Though there can be debates on certain aspects of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life, again, he was another "right person at the right time with the right message".
Things will never be perfect between "White American" and "Black America" because humans are flawed. But we have to recognize progress, where it has taken place, so we can have the momentum to deal with aspects where progress perhaps is lagging behind.
Hateful people that turn natural disasters into racial issues and use laws, regulations, and the legal system as instruments of revenge block real progress. Most White Americans do not have the same prejudices as their parents and/or grandparents. Things have changed, but to listen to Julian Bond or Jesse Jackson (when there are cameras present), you wouldn't know that.
We shouldn't sacrifice good because it isn't perfect.
[Update: There are a few commentors that suggest that Rosa Parks' actions were orchestrated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. That should have no affect, as what she did needed to be done. Things needed to change and even if she was "put up to it", she still had to have courage to "carry it through".]
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
The Future of Mega-Teams in NASCAR
There is a proposal in NASCAR that teams be limited in the number of cars they can put on the track at a given time. The concern is that the mega-teams with huge pocketbooks and running five or six cars will overwhelm the single- or two-car teams.
I suppose these are viable concerns, but I don't think NASCAR is going to be entirely (or even predominantly) overrun with mega-teams, simply because of the costs involved. And it seems to smack of political correctness, i.e., since the Jack Roush team (5 Fords) are all in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. Another mega-team, Rick Hendrick fields 4 Chevrolets, but only one (Jimmie Johnson) is in the Chase. A third, Roger Penske fields 3 Dodges, two of which are in the Nextel Cup Chase. It seems that especially the Roush team is being punished for its success.
For all of the millions of dollars that Jack Roush has sunk into NASCAR, since 1988, he only has two Nextel (nee' Winston) Cup championships, with Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch. For all of the millions that Rick Hendrick has sunk into NASCAR, he has five championships, four with Jeff Gordon and one with Terry Labonte. I am not sure if Roger Penske has a championship, Rusty Wallace won in 1989, but it may have been with Raymond Beadle (I don't remember when the team changed hands.).
If this rule were to go into effect in 2006, which cars would NASCAR have Jack Roush eliminate from his team? Say, for instance, if he had to cut back to three cars, who would you cut? Mark Martin, his original driver since 1988, who, if he doesn't win a championship this year may stay around for one more year? Would it be the new talent of Carl Edwards with 2 wins this year? Would it be the popular Greg Biffle with 5 wins this year? Would it be 2003 champion Matt Kenseth? Would it be 2004 champion Kurt Busch?
Because of the expenses of running NASCAR, I know that single car teams are at a disadvantage. None of the ten teams in the Chase are single car teams.
As far as I know, these are the only single car teams in the top 30.
13th position - Joe Nemechek
22nd position - Ricky Rudd
29th position - Ken Schrader
How does NASCAR "help" them without punishing the others for their success? There are no easy answers.
By way of NewsBusters.org's post on Spike Lee and his continued flogging of the dead horse (named Government-Blasted Levees), it is the story of a play in New Orleans about 1965's Hurricane Betsy. And some of the "ghosts" of the 1927 non-hurricane flood.
In Spike Lee's world, every perceived negative interaction between the U.S. Government and Black Americans has to fit the Tuskegee Template. Yes, the Tuskegee Experiment was reprehensible, but that was the attitude of the time. Things have changed. To him, it is plausible that the U.S. Government would dynamite the levees to save white neighborhoods.
This is a good article, I would recommend reading it to gain some insights as to past periods of flooding in the Big Easy.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
The Things We Miss...
A few nights ago, Constitutional Scholar Al Franken (gasp, wheez, urp, excuse me....)
A few nights ago, Constitutional Scholar Al Franken (snicker, snicker, sorry...)
A few nights ago, Constitutional Scholar Al Franken (heh, heh, oops!)
A few nights ago, Constitutional Scholar Al Franken was on David Letterman hawking his new book entitled "The Truth (with jokes)" (is it really a tell-all book on Air America?).
During his Letterman gig, he decided that it would be informative and useful to state that Karl Rove and "Scooter" Libby would be executed for treason for outing a CIA agent. He later suggested the same punishment might await President Bush, but then he tried to backtrack.
He thought it was so funny that he repeated it on NBC Today, with Matt Lauer. I didn't see it, so I don't know if Matt's laughing was at Al or with Al.
Al, Al, Al. The doctor told you to quick smokin' that stuff long ago. Better watch it or you will turn out like George Carlin.
Hat Tip to TruthBusters.org
Britain, Get a Grip Before You Completely Lose It!
Oy vey! (OK, I am a southern, redneck Christian, but sometimes that is all you can say!)
Even a Muslim MP (Member of Parliament) thinks this is going too far. MP "Khalid Mahmoud, the Labour MP for a Birmingham seat and one of four Muslim MPs in Britain, also criticised the piggy-bank ban.
"We live in a multicultural society and the traditions and symbols of one community should not be obliterated just to accommodate another," Mr Mahmoud said.
"I doubt many Muslims would be seriously offended by piggy banks.""
Mr. Mahmoud sounds more sensible than the legions of US and UK appeasers that are willing to jump through endless hoops to remove anything that might offend anybody. He even sounds more sensible than some RINOs.
Hey Brits! If you give in to things that they ain't even demanding, you only encourage them! Eventually they are going to demand that you close your taverns and give up your ales! Are you going to let that happen?
(Psst! The Brits have such good booze 'cause they got lousy food. I will eat hummus before I eat haggis!)
A New Blogging Term
Hope all is well with him.
History Isn't Neat...
By way of The Black Republican is this WSJ Opinion Journal piece on the compromises made in order to produce and then ratify the U.S. Constitution. One of the major points was the "three-fifth's compromise". Our Founders were men (and women) of their time. We cannot expect them to have the benefits of our 200+ years of experience and learning since their endeavors. Some of them knew that slavery was wrong. They knew that it was inconsistent with their stated values and goals.
But they also knew that they had to "capture that moment in time". Because of the cultural differences between New England and the Coastal South, some issues had to be dealt with later. They could not have resolved the issue of slavery without destroying the fragile young Republic, so instead they left with us a system that allowed us to legally make the changes, e.g., the 13th Amendment, when the time was right.
One of the points of the linked WSJ article, a review of "Dark Bargain" by Lawrence Goldstone, was that:
..."He (Goldstone) writes that July 12, 1787, is "an infamous day in the history of America," for that was when the delegates agreed to add three-fifths of a state's slave population to its free population for apportioning congressional representatives and for assessing federal taxes. The so-called three-fifths clause, which also determined representation in the Electoral College, would hold sway until December 1865, when the 13th Amendment abolished slavery itself."
What were they supposed to do? Slavery was not simply going to be voted away. The slave states wanted to count slaves to inflate population numbers. While this would not have benefited the slaves in any way, it was a tacit admission that they had value. The Northern states didn't want to include slaves in the population counts, which could be taken, by some, to mean that they had no value. The three-fifths clause was a putting out a "grass fire" so that it could be dealt with at a later date. Without this compromise, the entire process might have collapsed to a point where revival was impossible.
Cultural evolution takes time and patience.
Why Modern Liberals Ain't - Revisited
As cited in previous posts (linked here and here) in this "series", and by persons more articulate, modern "liberals" (aka Lib/Leftists) are driven by emotion and not logic, thus they are generally unable to sustain their point of view in a debate. Instead they retreat behind a "cover fire" of name-calling. Dennis Prager this morning reminds us of some of these names.
An example from Dennis Prager's column:
..."Anti-intellectual: If you object to the dwindling academic standards at universities, or to the lack of diversity in ideas there, you are dismissed as "anti-intellectual." Given the universities' speech codes, the intellectually stifling Political Correctness that pervades academia, and the emotionalism that characterizes most leftist views on campus (American "imperialism," Israeli "apartheid," "war for oil" are emotional outbursts, not serious positions), if any side seems to express anti-intellectualism, it would be the Left."
And because they are driven by emotion, they can't even see the "holes" in their arguments. A confident "Intellectual" should relish the thought of a good debate. They shouldn't fear the Academic Bill of Rights. They should not fear a good debate on Intelligent Design.
Another example, not directly addressed by Dennis, is the "Anti-environment" label thrown whenever someone has a different viewpoint than the Sierra Club, et al. Or if they suggest that there might be ways to preserve jobs and clean up the environment at the same time.
Labels: Why Modern Liberals Ain't
Saturday, October 22, 2005
A Few Thoughts on the Preparations for the Bird Flu
A little Due Diligence might pay off. Plan shopping trips better so you don't have to go out as often. Choose your public exposures carefully, if possible. Get your rest so as to keep your immune system running a little better.
We just need to remember that these things happen from time-to-time (just as hurricane cycles). Following the MSM/Democrat lead in blaming the President is not going to be effective.
You know it will happen.
[I will be off doing Cub Scout stuff with my son today and tonight, so more posting will have to wait until Sunday PM, or so. Spend some time visiting some of the links along the right margin (you wouldn't expect me to put them along the "left margin" would you? Heh.]
Friday, October 21, 2005
An Interesting Blog to Check Out
I will list it in my informal blogroll in the Foreign Blogs section, though it is actually from the West Coast of the US.
I am including it because I began telling my students in 2001 that Mugabe's "farm program" was going to lead to famine in Zimbabwe and surrounding nations. And I wrote about it, back on June 11.
For about 20 years after independence, it seemed to work. Zimbabwe was the "breadbasket of Africa", feeding her own people and selling food to other nations. Until Mugabe started confiscating the farms of whites that chose to stay after independence and "give it a go". The purported reason was that Mugabe wanted more black Zimbabweans to enter the farming system and he felt that the white farmers were too slow in turning over land to the program. I am not in a position to know if this is valid info or not. But perhaps a little pressure on the white farmers to begin training a new generation of black Zimbabwean farmers might have been a little more efficient, than destroying the entire system.
The most troubling aspect of this is that South Africa has been looking at doing similar things to their white farmers.
You would think that it would be the easiest thing in the world to "figger out". If your food production system is working, don't screw it up! But then, what would you expect from Marxists?
Thursday, October 20, 2005
What the ______ Do Jews Have to Do With Aztlan?
Holding everybody to the same standards is the only way to have any progress in race relations in this country. And more "Hate Crimes" laws will not help, as they will cause a backlash effect.
From time to time, FrontPageMag Discover the Network highlights certain extremist groups and today's selection is La Voz de Aztlan. I recall running across their website a few years ago. Aztlan is the mythical homeland of the Aztecs and includes parts of Oklahoma, and all of Texas, New Mexico, California, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. Much of this area was ceded to the United States by Mexico in 1848. Regardless of the circumstances of how this came about (and that is not to say that we were 100% right), modern-day residents of this area have nothing to do with this. And "returning" this area to Mexico would make no difference at all in Mexico's situation. Mexico already has plenty of natural resources. Their situation is more complex than can be solved by "acquiring" the above-mentioned states.
Aside from wanting to "return" much of the southwestern United States to Mexico, they regularly rant about Jews. Why? Is it just to show solidarity with other Leftist groups, including Nazis? What is the point? Is it to draw funding from Islamist groups?
These people and their fellow travelers (MeCha, etc.) may well sell out (if they haven't already) to al Qaida operatives in order to "get back" at the United States. According to Discover the Network, they offer praise to "Palestinian" homicide bombers. Are they planning to adopt this tactic?
They are just mirror images of Aryan Nations and the Nation of Islam. They each want to tear off a portion of the United States for their own racist homeland, where no one, other than their race, would be allowed to live. Gee, that sounds just like the "Palestinians" and their insistence of all Jews being expelled from the West Bank and Gaza (and eventually all of modern-day Israel).
Racism is racism, regardless of the color.
Ten Global Warming Myths...
The only thing constant about Earth history is change. Some are willing to use natural changes as political tools (See "Global Warming: How It All Began") and they gain ground because of the biased MSM and TV-fed masses. Myself and other scientists have an interest in "Good Science" (accurate to the best of our current knowledge).
Some previous posts on Climate Change, real and imagined, were on July 4, July 17, July 27, August 26, September 14, September 15, and September 26.
Hat Tip: Basil's Blog.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
And Now, For Something Completely Different!
Have you ever attempted to read the Bible, starting at the beginning? When you consider how many pages there are, it is quite a daunting task. And remembering all of the names and trying to remember the time lines. That is why most of us give up at our attempts at "self-learning" the Bible.
There are probably a number of different Bible Study courses available, I am most familiar with the "Disciple Bible Study" series, having done Disciple I, II, and III a few years ago, through our Methodist Church.
If you don't have a "home church", this might be a way to ease into one, especially if you haven't been in a church in years (we have all "backslid" from time to time). Don't be intimidated. Churches are for sinners, not for saints. You might inquire through the church office as to whether or not they have the Disciple classes and when will the next ones will begin.
If memory serves me correctly, the Disciple classes that I took were about 36 weeks in length. Now don't be put off by the length of time. You take it one meeting at a time. I found Sunday afternoon/Sunday night to be the best time.
Each class lasts approximately 2 and 1/2 hours or so. And we always had some snacks so we could take a break during the class. And don't worry if you haven't picked up a Bible in years. The class is not for experts and it will not make you an expert, though you will become a "learned student". When you walk in for the first meeting, you may be in a room of 8 to 14 strangers, but by the time you finish 36 weeks later, you should be in a room full of friends.
The most important aspects of organized group Bible study, a la Disciple, are (from my experience):
- You will have a study guide with weekly reading assignments and questions that can be answered during the reading and/or during class discussions.
- You will benefit by the different viewpoints and interpretations of your fellow class members and the instructor during discussions.
- During class time, there will be time for prayer requests, if something concerns you, such as a family illness or other difficulties.
- No matter what your experience is, what your troubles are, someone else will have a similar story, though they may not have spoken of it. You are not alone.
- As you get to know your classmates better, bonds will develop and common experiences will be shared.
Is this study for United Methodists only?
No. It is an ecumenical study. DISCIPLE Bible Study is active in 34 denominations.
What is the recommended Bible for study?
Choose a good study Bible that contains introductory articles, notes, maps, charts, illustrations, glossaries, dictionary, concordances, and indexes. We recommend the The New Interpreter's Study Bible (NRSV).
And don't worry about missing your football games, NASCAR races, etc. on TV, that is what VCRs are for! This is ultimately more important.
Go ahead, check into it!
What Hath Wilma Wrought?
Well, it is just because!
Though our latitudes are starting to cool (as is normal), the southern Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea are both south of the Tropic of Cancer, so the water is still going to be warm (as is normal). Land heats faster than water, but it also cools faster than water, i.e., those lower-latitude waters are going to hold heat for a while, that is why the hurricane season lasts through November.
As cited here and elsewhere, we are in a cycle of more active hurricanes. The last cycle extended from the 1940s into the 1960s, so if you see a MSM graphic of hurricane activity since 1970, they ain't telling you the entire story. And the last active cycle was during a time of global cooling (that lasted from 1940 - 1970). And our current cycle (since about 1995) may go on for another 10 - 20 years, so we might as well just learn from it.
Whether it had been President Gore (eww!) in his second term, or President Kerry (eww!) in his first term, or President Bush, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (and their siblings) would still have happened and the results would have probably been the same.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
On the Ongoing Need for Tax Reform
And BlackEnterprise.com addresses it here, along with an endorsement of the Fair Tax.
From the BlackEnterprise piece, the proposed "reform" (this time) was ..."cutting back on popular tax deductions for home mortgage interest and tax-free employer-provided health insurance."
BlackEnterprise continues with: ..."Real tax reform would not only get rid of the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax), but also income, Social Security, Medicare and death taxes. Real tax reform would also kill off the Internal Revenue Service and save billions in tax compliance costs.
This could be done by replacing the existing tax system with a progressive national tax, as explained in the current best-seller, The FairTax Book, authored by U.S. Rep. John Linder, R-Ga., and radio talk show host Neal Boortz. Yet Bush's tax panel specifically rejects the national sales tax, claiming it's unfair to poor people.
Obviously they haven't read the book, or they're lying about it, because the Fair Tax protects poor people as well or better than the current system does. What the Fair Tax doesn't protect are the special interests that depend on the existing behemoth tax labyrinth for special treatment by Congress."
Today Neal also has a link to this editorial letter, in the Gainesville Sun, on the same subject.
Some quick ways that the Fair Tax will benefit lower income people are:
1) There is to be a rebate/prebate to each household to cover the expected sales taxes on necessities each month.
2) The National Sales Tax is only on new items, not used.
3) It will take out the "embedded tax" on each consumer item or service that we purchase.
Most sensible, intelligent people would roll their eyes at the appearance of groups such as these, but that is what the First Amendment is about, protecting the political speech rights of the unpopular.
The best way to get people like this to go away is to IGNORE THEM. That goes for the media too. They have the right to march and speak, but you don't have to give them publicity.
The 114 people arrested in the wake of the riot were just looking for an excuse to go on rampages. The White Supremacists were looking for this sort of reaction, for the sake of publicity and to prove their twisted point. To the "offended observers", just IGNORE THEM. When you allow people such as this to make you angry, you are giving them power over you. When they go marching down the street, just go about your business and thank God that you are not that stupid.
They have the right to make public fools of themselves, so just go ahead and let them. The rioters on the other hand do not have the right to tear up and steal other peoples' property. That is not protected speech (except by the ACLU and "community activists" and other enablers).
Sunday, October 16, 2005
This Pelican Shouldn't Be Flying
..."On the Hill, Louisiana Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter, a Democrat and a Republican, are preparing a money grab of epic proportions in the name of rebuilding the hurricane-devastated Gulf region. PELICAN (Protecting Essential Louisiana Infrastructure, Citizens, and Nature) would bring up to $250 billion to the state, leaving victims in Mississippi, Alabama and Texas to scrape for whatever's left. The aptly named bill (Louisiana is known as the Pelican State) would deliver, among other trinkets, $5 billion for mortgage relief, $400 million for substance abuse and mental-health services, and $750 million for a "teacher-incentive fund" (read: bureaucratic slush fund). This plan looks suspiciously more likewelfare writ large than infrastructure redevelopment, but in this spend-happy Congress, there are few with the courage to call it by its real name."
[$400 million of substance abuse? $750 million for a teacher-incentive fund? What do those have to do with rebuilding the infrastructure?]
Before this pelican takes flight, it needs to go on a diet.
What is Pork (Besides the Other White Meat)?
We all know what political pork is, it is just a little hard to specifically define it. I heard one definition (don't remember the source) that it was spending projects requested by a single representative (and benefiting a single congressional district). I guess that was a polite definition. [Update: From a recent Washington Post editorial: ..."One point of an earmark is to direct money to a project that would not receive money as a result of rational judgments based on cost-benefit analyses."]
We well know that it is highly addictive to members of both political parties. And some of it sounds good at "first glance" (forgive the pseudo-Yogism). But we need to start writing our U.S. Representatives to recommend that they find a way to wean themselves. I am not sure as to how Senators insert "earmarked" projects into bills, i.e., I don't know if there has to be a House co-sponsor for the original insertion or not. Perhaps we should check with WV's Sen. Robert Byrd, as he can do it like no one else. Ulitmately, the Congress controls the spending, but when they fail, the President is supposed to either veto the bill or send it back under threat of veto.
When we track down these individual "earmarked projects", we have to ask "is this the proper role of government?" and "can this be done with private funding?". If you need some reminder of the proper role of government, a good place to begin is Frederic Bastiat's "The Law".
A good example of pork from a couple of years ago (there are so many to choose from):
My daughter spent Spring Break on the Georgia Coast with one of her friends and her friend's dad and stepmom. Part of that time was on Cumberland Island, where the friend's stepmom noticed some old free-standing chimneys (the only remainders of burned/decayed 18th/19th century homes) having had their "fireplaces" newly "bricked in". [At this point, I don't recall if she found out or if I found this from a different source...] This was part of a $450,000 taxpayer-funded Federal project to preserve historic chimneys on Cumberland Island. I don't recall the U.S. rep from that district, but it was a Republican (there aren't any Democrat reps from that part of the state), it may have been Jack Kingston.
This is just one of hundreds of pork projects. I don't have a problem with historic preservation, but it can easily be privately-funded. In fact, you could probably sell people on the idea of their paying a fee to be part of a historic preservation project where you "live in a field camp" and take part in chimney repair and other archeology-related projects. Or clean up along nature trails and such. Probably 90% of Georgians are never going to even see these chimneys (access to the island is controlled).
I don't need to tell you that this is your money, not the government's. To use an example I use in my classes, "Why should the taxes of a Nebraska corn farmer pay for this project?"
We worked up a good "head of steam" towards fighting this kind of senseless spending with the 1994 Republican Revolution, but much of the spirit & momentum was lost because Newt Gingrich couldn't keep his pants on. And in order to skewer other people's sacred cows, we have to be willing to skewer our own. We have to be willing to risk losing that sports team that want a new taxpayer-funded stadium (though often these are local tax matters). We have to ask "Do we really need this?"
I know that it does contribute to the local economy, but "it ain't the government's money to spend". Sometimes it can be legitimately debated, such as spending for colleges, flood control projects, road projects, but so much of it is simply for inflating political egos. And sometimes, Lib/Leftists will include defense spending in "pork projects" when they are attacking Republican politicians (and sometimes they might be right).
We need to instill in our representatives that "how many earmarked projects" they cut from a spending bill can be a political plus. Instead of bragging about "how much Federal money' they brought back to the district (or state in the case of Senators), they could brag that "I saved taxpayers ___ billion dollars".
Saturday, October 15, 2005
The Iraqi Constitution Vote
From Henry's column: ..."It took eight and half years – from April 19, 1775, when the "shot heard around the world" was fired in Lexington, Mass., until the Treaty of Paris was finally signed on Sept. 3, 1783 – to rid the colonies of dictatorial rule.
The colonists could not have done it without help from the French.
So far, the Iraqis have fought two and a half years to rid their country of dictatorial rule. The Iraqis could not do it without help from America.
It took 17 years – from the first Continental Congress in 1774, to the eventual ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1791 – to create the government of the United States.
In the same two and a half years that the Iraqis have been fighting for their independence, they have elected an interim government and have developed their first effort at a constitution. Any honest appraisal would have to conclude that this is a remarkable achievement."
As stated before, here and elsewhere, this is about trying to prevent future terrorist attacks, by helping Iraq and Afghanistan on the road towards self-determination and away from the tyranny that helps breed Islamic terror. Turkey is an example of a predominantly Muslim nation that allows its citizens to vote and though there are problems, Turkey is relatively stable and prosperous for that part of the world.
Henry continues with: ..."The determining factor is the U.S. The Iraqi people cannot yet defend their fledgling government on their own. If America withdraws, Zarqawi and his goons will slaughter their opposition, as did Saddam Hussein. Iraq will become the new haven for terrorists and a launching pad for them to wage their war against the infidels. "
The longer we show that we are sincere, the more support we will get from the "rank-and-file" citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan. Each completed election is a step in the right direction. It is not supposed to be exactly like ours, but as long as it is their decision, it is progress. The above paragraph foretells what would happen if we cut-and-run, as we did in Vietnam. Too many people (and governments) worldwide have gotten used to the United States losing its "stomach" for difficult endeavors.
Henry continues with: ..."The war in Iraq is the best chance America has to stop, or at least slow, the growth of Islamic fanaticism. If Iraq can stand up its own government and its own defense, it will be the best defense America could have against the spread of terrorism.
The American blood and treasure invested in Iraq is an investment not only in the people of Iraq, but in the future of freedom in America and in the world."
This is about more than just us. Despite the mistakes, if we persist, hopefully history will prove President Bush right. We helped rebuild Japan and Germany after WWII to lessen the reasons for future wars in those two countries. I know that there were also ulterior motives to keep those countries out of the Soviet "sphere-of-influence", but with Stalin being who he was, that was a worthwhile effort.
What would the world look like decades from now if we didn't try? What will it look like if we "go wobbly?
Friday, October 14, 2005
Democrats and the Fair Tax
- Democrats don't want to lose the power in the present tax system
- Democrats want to wait until they are in power, so they will get the credit
Some Ideas Are So Stupid...(Why Won't It Go Away?)
[Updated from 9/29 - 'cause people are still talking about this.] Actually, it is "Some Ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals could believe them." This quote, attributed to Michael Levine sums up a UK Timesonline article cited by Rush Limbaugh recently.
The Levine article is entitled "Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'".
In my recent post "Hurricanes and Global Warming", my first two sentences were:
"When two or more natural events happen at the "same time", we scientists call that correlation. Correlation, by itself, does not infer causation."
I continued with: ..."It (correlation) does not tell you whether the events are directly-related, indirectly-related, partially-related, or simply a matter of coincidence. And sometimes, the relationship between events may not be known until the subject has been studied for decades.
So, the day after I told you this, the UK Times publishes a story of a report in the Journal of Religion and Society, a US academic journal that includes the quote:
“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies. " (Emphasis added)
The article continues:
“The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.” [This is so bad it is funny. I can't even get annoyed at this fool. I guess I feel sorry for him.]
The article continues: "Gregory Paul, the author of the study and a social scientist, used data from the International Social Survey Programme, Gallup and other research bodies to reach his conclusions."
[OK, in his simple world, if "A" happens and "B" happens at the same time, they must be related! Gee, that ranks right up there with President Bush didn't sign the Kyoto Treaty and we had some bad hurricanes, they must be related!]
OK class, how many synonyms can we come up with for convoluted and obtuse "thought processes"?
[Update: I found this NBC video link (the link may bring up a choice of videos). In the interview, Tucker Carlson interviews Rosa Brooks of the Univ. of Virginia Law School and she starts off by explaining that this report highlights the correlation.]
That societal dysfunction supposedly happens more in "religious nations" is illogical as the behaviors that cause said dysfunctions are contrary to the teachings of Christianity, Judaism, and probably Islam. In other words, if individuals would behave themselves, there would be less of these dysfunctions.
Again, the correlation by itself means very little. The next time Mount St. Helens erupts, if there is a small earthquake near Albuquerque, NM, though those two events could be correlated (timewise), there is probably very little, if any, relationship between the two events.
While wondering "who funded the study that led to these dubious conclusions?", one also has to consider "is there an agenda being satisfied by the attempted connection?". Knowing the MSM/academia bias against persons of faith, it might not be surprising.
This original article, published in a back-water journal, should have died in obscurity due to the malnutrition of logic, but no, the MSM picks it up, brings it home, and feeds it.
Question: "What is the difference between a social scientist and a trampoline?" (Answer is in the upper Comment section.)
Oops! Did the same thing late Thursday night. Fell asleep too soon to finish works in progress.
I am gettin' old. One beer didn't used to put me to sleep. Actually it is having a late class from 9:30 to 10:45 PM.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
We Cannot Afford Another "Vietnam"
From time to time, we need to be reminded of why we have to keep fighting the good fight (and some of us contribute as "cheerleaders" of a sort, because we are too old to enlist). We keep the "home fires burning".
I have posted before (May 20) some thoughts as to why we have to persist and prevail in this War on Terror.
Brainster (Tuesday) and Blogmeister USA (today) contributed their own postings on this vital subject.
Brainster uses this analogy:
..."Watching the antiwar movement this time around, I feel like Marty McFly from Back to the Future. I've seen this movie before and I don't like the way it turned out. I recognize now that many of the people in charge of this movement are just like the folks in charge of the 1960s movement. Some are dupes and some are malevolent. And sadly, they want the same thing that their predecessors wanted; an end to US involvement.
But what would be the result of Cindy Sheehan's fondest wish, an immediate withdrawal? Much the same things that happened in Vietnam--a purge of all those who cooperated with the US. Perhaps mercifully, the followers of radical Islam do not believe in re-education camps; decapitation obviates the need."
The reason for the intervention in Iraq was to try to prevent future 9/11-type attacks, by helping establish "islands of democracy" in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will take years before we know the measure of success. What would the world look like if we didn't try?
Kerry Haters is now defunct (archives here), but Pat (of Brainster) and others like him are still carrying the torch. Allowing the radical left to hijack Iraq would be even a bigger crime than they way they hijacked Vietnam--because we know what happened to the Vietnamese people as a result.
If we achieve a modicum of success in stabilizing Iraq and other areas, the military lives lost were the necessary cost. If we cut-and-run, the millitary lives will have been lost for nothing because the objective was not reached. The 1960s/1970s antiwar movement, that is inspiring the Leftists of today, was partially orchestrated by the Kremlin. We know that some of the "icons" of the current antiwar movement also support the worst of the world's tyrants. Their kind of peace is the kind of peace preferred by Castro, et al. Unfortunately, these useful idiots are clueless as to how their lives would change if those sorts of tyrants gain control.
The likes of Al Franken, Ward Churchill, Noam Chomsky, et al, are committing sedition, not reasoned free-speech dissent.
They have forgotten 9/11. We can't afford to.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
That collision resulted in the uplift of the Himalayan Mountains, which are still rising at a few millimeters per year.
Prior to the Plate Tectonics Theory, we had difficulties in explaining the hows and whys of earthquake and volcano locations and activity.
As for the earthquakes, as with hurricanes, they are natural events that cannot be stopped. Forecasting is probably difficult in this sort of setting. As long as people live in the mountains, all that can be done is to try to address construction issues, however, earthquake-triggered landslides are also a natural event.
Monday, October 10, 2005
Susan, Some Us Already Knew...
After reading the article, Susan makes some viable points without political bashing of the present Administration and those of similar philosophies.
The quote - "Now, at least, we're aware and America is aware about how other Americans have been living. Nobody's been paying any attention to them." - is perhaps the main thing that could draw a little criticism.
We "little people", because we can't afford to jet back and forth across the country, drive and we see things. Because we are not "above it all" we may notice things that the "beautiful people" don't see. We see the "back roads", the good and the bad.
Many of us have given Louisiana, and especially New Orleans, a "wink and a nod" towards their legacy of corruption, because New Orleans was a fun place to party. But that atmosphere of "Let someone else take care of it" is toxic over the long run. Twenty-plus years ago, I remember stripped, burned-out stolen cars sitting on the shoulders of I-10 for days because there wasn't the money to drag them away. Because they were slow to clean up the first ones, that invited more.
And so on it went until Katrina came to visit. And now everyone knows. It has been rotting for a while.
The Passion of the Amateur and Guest Blogging
John Sweat, "husband-dude" of Pam of Blogmeister USA, has a history/anthropology blog called "The Anthropogene", in which he explores different issues related to human history of the "Anthropogene Epoch" time period, i.e., the time since the last major Ice Age. We geologists call the same time period the Holocene or Recent Epoch.
John explains his interests and philosophies in his introduction. He has been kind enough to invite me to guest-post on his blog and my first effort is my own introduction entitled "The Passion of the Amateur". Herein I offer my thanks for the chance.
As with any submitted paper, etc., you alway think of something else you wish you had written or added. John explains what I wished to say with: ..."An amateur is someone who does something for the pure love of the pursuit. I consider that a blessing as I am not constrained by the rigors of orthodoxy."
My version is:
In the realm of science, history, anthropology, etc., those that are professionally trained for years are steeped in certain paradigms which encompass the decades of learning within that discipline. But sometimes, what is "common knowledge" shuts out new ideas.
The amateur doesn't know "what he doesn't know". He/She is not held back by self-doubts. He doesn't have a professional reputation to protect. Thereby, he/she can go off on "tangents" or "side trips" of exploration and discovery while not worrying about what others are going to say. In other words, we don't have an ego to protect.
Gosh darn, I overwrote again.
Anyway, drop over and read a while (not just my first post, but John's numerous posts).
Dr. David Yeagley, of proud Comanche blood, has some in context thoughts concerning Columbus.
We all know that Columbus and his small fleet weren't the first Europeans to reach the Western Hemisphere. The Vikings made repeated trips to Greenland and probably to the NE portions of Canada, but the prevailing ocean currents (Gulf Stream) were traveling in the opposite direction from their preferred routes and probably made further southwestward excursions difficult.
According to Dr. Yeagley, Columbus is more famous because:
..." What Columbus did was to chart a map, and create a reliable path, which others followed in shiploads. For this, he is held up as the cause of all evil in the Western Hemisphere. "
Dr. Yeagley continues:
"As a Comanche, I see Columbus as a daring, triumphant man. My people had a great penchant for exploring. Comanches certainly knew the thrill of discovery. There is oral tradition recalling certain Comanche raiding bands which had seen men with tall green feathers in the far south. This suggests that Comanches had wandered all the way down to the Yucatan (and did a lot of plundering along the way, in fact).
Of course, this was a long while (about 350 years) after Columbus landed in America, but, still, it was “discovery” for the Comanches. It doesn’t matter that there was already a civilization there. The point is that the Comanches were striking out into a brave new world, for them. They certainly didn’t consider it a crime.
And neither did Columbus. Columbus did no evil. Columbus did what all brave men do. He went where no man had gone before—at least as far as he knew, on the route he took. He was certainly going where he had not gone before and where but very, very few others had. Yes, there were abundant rumors and reports available to him from near and abroad. All sorts of descriptions, theories, and fantasies were in his face. But Columbus wanted to know for himself. He was determined to demonstrate that the earth was round. Never mind the ancient Greek Pythagorean theory. It was time to show the world, in no uncertain terms, that earth was in fact a globe."
It is normal for humans to migrate. It is normal for human cultures to try to prevail over one another. It is idiotic to use late 20th century standards to judge Columbus. He was a man of his time - the late 15th century. He was a flawed human. He was not responsible for what others did "after they came over". It is just all human nature. We can learn (and have learned) from the mistakes. And yet, because we are a fallen, sinful world, we will make more mistakes.
So just get over it and get on with your life. Columbus is dead.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
PETA is Now Going After Fishing
In his column, Doug reminds us of the tax & fee contributions to conservation efforts in the United States. From the column:
"1. HUNTING & FISHING LICENSE SALES total nearly $1 billion annually. This contribution supplies over half the income of the state conservation agencies and is used for wildlife management, education and safety programs.
2. EXCISE TAXES on sporting equipment, such as fishing tackle, firearms and ammunition, provide another $400 million, funding thousands of conservation, habitat improvement and recreation projects across America.
3. DUCK STAMPS purchased by migratory bird hunters add another $21 million in annual funding, totaling over $500 million to date. This money has been used to purchase some 5 million acres of wetlands habitat.
4. CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS by hunters and anglers to some 10,000 private organizations provide another $300 million in wildlife funding, in addition to the countless hours they spend doing vital conservation work.
5. ALL TOLD, hunters and anglers annually provide over 75% of the average funding for state conservation agencies and some nine dollars for each single taxpayer dollar invested in wildlife."
This is not to defend past overhunting/overharvesting episodes, most responsible hunters these days have learned the importance of "sustainability" as it relates to making sure that populations of their intended quarry remain healthy. For most hunters, it is not a "thrill of killing" thing that drives them. It is an issue of remaining in touch with our "hunter-gatherer" past, it is about being self-sufficient and being able to put food on their family's table.
Other than protest, what does PETA actually do for animals?
Real Liberals Should Worry About This - UN Control of the Internet
By way of Nealz Nuze (Friday morning) was this link to a UK Guardian article on present and upcoming UN conferences designed to "break America's grip on the Internet". This is notable because the UK Guardian is a liberal/leftist medium.
From the article:
..."Old allies in world politics, representatives from the UK and US sat just feet away from each other, but all looked straight ahead as (UK official David) Hendon explained the EU had decided to end the US government's unilateral control of the internet and put in place a new body that would now run this revolutionary communications medium. (Emphasis added)
The issue of who should control the net had proved an extremely divisive issue, and for 11 days the world's governments traded blows. For the vast majority of people who use the internet, the only real concern is getting on it. But with the internet now essential to countries' basic infrastructure - Brazil relies on it for 90% of its tax collection - the question of who has control has become critical.
And the unwelcome answer for many is that it is the US government. In the early days, an enlightened Department of Commerce (DoC) pushed and funded expansion of the internet. And when it became global, it created a private company, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) to run it.
But the DoC retained overall control, and in June stated what many had always feared: that it would retain indefinite control of the internet's foundation - its "root servers", which act as the basic directory for the whole internet.
A number of countries represented in Geneva, including Brazil, China, Cuba, Iran and several African states, insisted the US give up control, but it refused. The meeting "was going nowhere", Hendon says, and so the EU took a bold step and proposed two stark changes: a new forum that would decide public policy, and a "cooperation model" comprising governments that would be in overall charge. (Emphasis added)
[Of course all of these nations are paragons of freedom.]
Much to the distress of the US, the idea proved popular. Its representative hit back, stating that it "can't in any way allow any changes" that went against the "historic role" of the US in controlling the top level of the internet.
But the refusal to budge only strengthened opposition, and now the world's governments are expected to agree a deal to award themselves ultimate control. It will be officially raised at a UN summit of world leaders next month and, faced with international consensus, there is little the US government can do but acquiesce." (Emphasis added)
[Do you see why the selection of John Bolton (someone with a backbone) is so vitally important? "...award themselves ultimate control"? If they succeed, what else will they award themselves?]
Do you think for a moment that we might let the Harriet Miers thing go? Or at least have a little faith that this might work itself out? I am not saying that the concerns over Ms. Miers are not important, but is this a "flanking move" being conducted while we are squabbling with ourselves?
The MSM hates the competition & "checks and balances" of the Internet. Do you think they are going to tell us the truth about what is "in the works"?
This is not to say that there are not concerns about the status quo, but can you imagine UNELECTED bureaucrats in the UN having ultimate control over the internet and all that goes with it?
For years Neal Boortz has reminded listeners of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but more importantly of the caveat that negates all of the lofty-sounding goals of this document.
It is Article 29 Paragraph 3. "These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations."
This is the difference between the God-given rights recognized by our Founders vs. the human-given rights of the UN that can be taken away by a human-written caveat.
[Updates: Point Five blog has a satirical look at this subject. That is OK, just get the word out anyway you can. Brain Droppings has a more serious analysis, as does Geopolitical Review and Instapundit and Right Wing News and Everyman Chronicles and MuD & PHuD. Here are a few additional thoughts from Pat O'Sullivan. Pat has a link to the U.S. Principles on the Internet’s Domain Name and Addressing System.
Here is a posting to the Townhall.com C-log (DANMITCHELL C-LOG) on this subject.]
Last week's wreck at Talladega (not his fault) may have doomed his championship hopes, we will just have to wait and see.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
The MSM Preparations for the Avian Flu...
Randall Robinson opened his Huffington blog post with:
"It is reported that black hurricane victims in New Orleans have begun eating corpses to survive. Four days after the storm, thousands of blacks in New Orleans are dying like dogs. No-one has come to help them."...
He retracted the first sentence, but not the remainder of the poison-pen post. What does it say about him when he believes this sort of thing is possible? What does it say about him that he wouldn't "sit on this" to see if it was true before writing about it? It says that he has been poisoned by years of his own hatreds.
Why didn't the MSM rush in to condemn Robinson as they did with William Bennett, who simply used an absurdity as a way of making a point? Why did other media outlets rush to report the predictions of 10,000 plus dead, hundreds stacked like cordwood under the Superdome, etc.? Why did they continue to play upon people's worst fears instead of reporting that it takes time for rescue efforts to "gear up" when some 90,000 square miles was affected?
With more than a month now since the storm, we can look back with 20/20 hindsight. Some are accepting the responsibility of their own mistakes, while others are not.
When the Avian flu arrives, will the MSM keep talking about the 20 million expected deaths? Will someone blame it on Global Warming? You know they will! Will they talk about the prior pandemics (the plagues, the 1918 influenza pandemic) and the difficulties in dealing with viruses and the difficulties in making vaccines? A few will, but most will not keep reminding their viewers (or listeners) of past history. Will they use this event as an excuse to attack the President and U.S. pharmaceutical companies? You know they will! I predict that Ted Kennedy and Jimmy Carter will be among the first to blame President Bush. Will Dennis Kucinich demand that all drug company profits be seized by the government to pay for government research and drugs for the poor?
Will the MSM and DailyKos blame Haliburton for the virus? Will they say it was out-of-control government germ warfare experiments? Will they say it was a CIA effort to kill Chinese people that mutated and spread back to this country? Will they say that the War on Terror in Iraq is taking money away from research and prevention efforts?
Unfortunately, they will follow the template. They will whip up the emotions. They will not remind people that we have weathered storms (of different types) before. They will blame the President. They will not encourage people to seek the calm and solace that comes from sincere prayer. They will blame Conservatives and Christians. They will say that we are not doing enough to help the poor. They will say that we are not throwing enough money at _______ (pick your target).
It is all so predictable that it becomes depressing.
The Moonbats Continue to Bark About William Bennett
If any of these people would spend time listening to William Bennett on the radio or reading his writings, they would know that he is not a racist, he is not a bigot. He is soft-spoken, polite (sometimes too polite), and likes to engage callers in conversation. That is what he was doing on that "fateful day". He was employing an absurd analogy to illustrate a point. But if the MSM & aligned pundits only publish part of the discussion, it is out-of-context and it loses much of its meaning. Perhaps that is the goal.
When people are addicted to 15- and 30-second MSM soundbytes, it seems that their thinking cannot encompass the more complex aspects of extended conversations.
Here follow a few of the barkings:
"How dare he even suggest that every black child is a potential criminal?"
The second letter references Jonathan Swift's 1729 essay entitled "A Modest Proposal", a piece of literary absurdity that was taken literally by the uneducated public. The writer suggests that maybe Bennett hadn't considered the reaction to this essay when he made his comments (that may be correct). But then the writer spoils it by ending with: ..."Or perhaps he is merely another self-appointed guardian of the public trust."
The "gambling letter" suggests: ..."If his encouraging the abortion of black babies as a way to stop crime is sincere, then maybe the aborting of white babies is a way to stop the scourge of gambling."
[Bill Bennett is pro-life. Other than therapeutic abortions to save the life of the mother, he is not going to suggest abortions to "cure" any social ills. As for Bennett's mortal and moral failings, he was gambling with his own money. I don't think his wife and children starved. Was he prosecuted for breaking any laws? If he didn't break any laws, then he has to deal with the results of his own behavior. As for actually encouraging minority abortions to stop crime and poverty, why doesn't the reader study the background of Margaret Sanger and her eugenics philosophy?]
The fourth writer uses the occasion to take a slap at Christians: "Conservative and mighty Republican thinker William Bennett may have committed a Freudian slip - that is, speaking right from his Christian heart when he effectively said that if black people were liquidated, then crime would go down."
[No, again that was Margaret Sanger, not William Bennett. He didn't effectively say anything of the sort. He was using an absurd analogy and he said so, immediately after the fact. This writer appears to be projecting his own bigotry onto Bennett's comments.]
Friday, October 07, 2005
There Ought to Be a Way...
I don't know if the military is doing this, but to me it sounds like a good idea.
Why not make use of the Predator Drones (UAVs) to patrol the skies over the most often-used roads (for the roadside IED attacks)? It is my understanding that these unmanned aircraft can quietly cruise for hours. Presumably, the IEDs are probably planted at night. A cruising drone, with infrared sensors (and missiles) might be able to pick up on stopped vehicles and/or clusterings of people along these roadsides (as in burying the explosives) and send them a little surprise. Can you imagine the morale effects of having multiple terrorist IED-burial teams taken out during the night by small air-to-surface missiles?
I know that there are probably too many roads to constantly monitor, but random sweeps during the night might reveal the "infrared signature" of recently-disturbed soil (buried IEDs) that could be dispatched with a missile to detonate the explosives. Or call in a chopper to deliver a missile or two to the buried IED site.
It was the sound of an exploding 13-foot Burmese python after it ate a 6-foot alligator in the Florida Everglades.
Some tidbits and considerations about Burmese python in the Florida Everglades, gleaned from the video report:
- They can lay 100 eggs at a time, though 30 to 50 are the norm.
- They can grow to be 20 feet long and weigh 400 pounds.
- They are probably not a threat to humans.
- They are a threat to alligators as the top predators in that ecosystem.
- What else are they going to eat besides gators?
- Over 150 have been caught in the last two years in the Everglades.
- They are there because "owners" got tired of them as pets.
People...When you are considering buying a "cute pet" (especially if it is a "baby") or any other type of pet, you have to remember that it will be part of the family. So you have to decide if you are up to having another family member. Last year, we resisted buying two Sugar Gliders for sale (at a good price) from a local lady. They are marsupial "flying squirrels" of a sort and they are cute, but they are high maintenance and they generally bond to only one family member or two at the most. And who gets stuck with feeding the pets most of the time? You can't morally just dump a pet because it becomes inconvenient. And if it is dangerous, who are you endangering by turning it loose?
I am not generally in favor of banning things, but it wouldn't bother me if the government banned the importation of exotic snakes. If they "get loose" somehow, our ecosystems are not used to huge constrictors. I guess our largest native snake might be the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake and I think perhaps 6 feet might be the "average" largest size for these.
Having a cute, furry little Sugar Glider burrowing in your shirt pocket is different from being "embraced" by a 200 lb. snake. Sugar Gliders can run and climb around a room and be entertaining, but a 200 lb. snake just lies around digesting its last meal/sleeping or sizing you up for the next meal. Can you imagine having to worry about "where's Fido" or in-earnest asking "Honey, have you seen the kids?"
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Britain Continues to Rot
I don't normally watch "A Current Affair" on TV, but it was on after the local news Wed. evening. There was a report on a new "fad" in the UK among teenagers. With their camera/video cellphones, they record themselves slapping or otherwise assaulting unsuspecting people in public places. They call it "Happy Slapping". Usually several of them slap (or in some cases kick) a person that is minding their own business and if the person attempts to strike back, they will be attacked by another person in the group. The British culture has been so emasculated by Political Correctness that even if the victims were to successfully defend themselves, they would probably be punished. If anyone tries to bring this abhorrent practice to this country, I hope they meet Mr. Pepper Spray, Mr. Taser, or Mr. Colt 45 (and I ain't talking malt liquor).
The second one is that pigs (graphic, physical, or cartoon images thereof) are becoming more scarce in the UK because people are worried that they will offend Muslims. Robert Spencer reports from FrontPageMag.com of instances of Brits bending over forward (and backward) to cater to the intolerance of Muslims. I don't know what there is of an agricultural pork industry in the UK, but if there is, it is no doubt under assault, too. Not just from the Muslims alone, as they will probably recruit vegans to help them. As long as there are liberals, there will be a supply of useful idiots for Islamists.
This is not a blanket condemnation of all Muslims, but the "hardshelled" that only engage in negotiations to strengthen their own positions.
Tolerance is a "two-way street". They demand it, but they won't give it. When people are easily offended, that is because they are intolerant of someone else's practices, behaviors, etc.. Now if the intolerant ones are of the correct species, the political left will be quick to rush to their defenses, hollering "we need to be tolerant of the feelings of others". If they try to bring that nonsense here, they will have to pry my BBQ pork sandwich from my cold, dead fingers. Seriously, we have to remember that this is cultural war and this BS in Britain is but a small skirmish that, though it needs to be "won" at the risk of "what comes afterward" if they surrender too easily.
One of the few things that gives hope is Britain's resistance to joining the EU.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Maybe There is a Long-Term Reason...
There may be a strategy here, in picking what may seem to be a candidate that "appeases" the Democrats. President Bush (I hope) knows Ms. Miers well enough that he knows what he is doing. He may be looking past this appointment. There have been several suggestions that Ruth Bader Ginsburg's health may be an issue. Lib/Leftists, e.g., Sen. Feinstein, have come to see the court seats as being assigned based on physical and philosophical characteristics. It may be that because Justice O'Connor, on occasion, voted with the Conservatives, e.g., Kelo vs. New London, perhaps the Leftists do not see "her seat" as being completely "theirs". But the Ginsburg "seat" is clearly "theirs" in their viewpoint and more worthy of a vicious fight. The replacement of Ginsburg by a Conservative is going to have a more significant effect than the replacement of O'Connor. The nomination of a woman this time may make the nomination of a man to replace Ginsburg easier.
At this point, we don't have much of a choice because if we withdraw support from the President, the Lib/Leftists win. It seems that some Conservatives are becoming disillusioned, but for the sake of our children, we can't quit. At times we have to step back and take a breath, but then we have to re-enter the fray. The stakes are too high. And we can't let defeats give us a sense of this being a lost cause, 'cause it ain't.
It was Bali (Again), It Could Be Baltimore
As stated previously, Vietnam became "Vietnam" because of U.S. mistakes, but largely because the "peace" campaign, orchestrated by the Kremlin and elements of the International Leftist movement, broke our spirit on the home front. We were not wrong in Vietnam, we handled it wrong. Beyond that, it is for the historians to debate.
We cannot let it happen again because the stakes are too high. "Those that forget the past..." As evil as the elements of Communism and Socialism are, in the past, dictators and followers of said philosophies had some sense of self-preservation. They weren't willing to kill themselves in order to kill "us".
Some excepts from Gaffney's column (most of it, it was too good to "cut up"):
..."Receding memories of 9/11 and a sense of lost momentum – if not of futility – has combined with the effects of natural disasters and political ones. Support has eroded for the war effort and for those who lead it.
Worse yet, our enemies are emboldened by the demonstrations and calls for withdrawal from the Iraqi front. They redouble their efforts to kill and maim Iraqis and, if possible, American and other Coalition personnel. These terrorists are confident that doing so will reinforce popular demands to set an early date for bringing the troops home.
All other things being equal, this cycle could continue for some time in a sort of death-spiral. The problem is that its end result would be not only defeat and mayhem in Iraq. It would have devastating consequences far beyond the Tigris and Euphrates."
[It would be like the Vietnam death-spiral that began at a time when the Viet Cong/North Vietnamese were considering quitting after they lost the Tet Offensive. Rather than the war ending, perhaps, in 1968 with an American death toll of about 10,000, it dragged on to a final death toll in the mid-1970s of 56,000 (+/-). And that does not even consider the Vietnamese death toll in the "extra years", that is the "peace dividend" of the International Left.]
Gaffney continues: "That is because we are not, in fact, fighting a global war on terror. It is a global war, alright. But it should instead be called the “War for the Free World.” Such a designation has the following advantages:
1) It is accurate. We who love freedom are locked in a struggle to the death with totalitarian enemies who subscribe to ideologies that require our destruction. Sound familiar? The Nazis, Fascists, Imperial Japanese and Soviet Communists had in mind for us the same fate. We had to wage war effectively (using non-military as well as military means) on a global scale to defeat each of them in turn.
Today, the immediate threat to the Free World comes from Islamofascism – yet another totalitarian ideology, this time masquerading as a religion. Most Muslims around the world do not subscribe to the Islamist agenda. They are increasingly being forced to embrace it, or at least go along with it, however, under threat of violence or other coercive techniques. By demonstrating our resolve to resist the Islamofascists and to help non-Islamist Muslim to do so as well, we can enlarge the Free World and secure the allies we will need to prevail.
2) It makes clear that the war is about much more than Iraq and Afghanistan. Seductive as the idea sounds, withdrawing from such far-flung battlefields is no solution.
Since the fight is about nothing less than whether there will continue to be a Free World – one in which we are able to speak, publish, assemble, vote and practice our religions as we wish – ceding ground to our enemies will only bring closer the day when we cannot do any of those things.
3) It restores the moral clarity that Americans – and other democracies – typically need to sustain war’s expensive costs (in both human and financial terms). There can be no moral equivalence between our Islamofascist enemies on the one hand and, on the other, those who are fighting and dying to protect freedom here at home and, as a bulwark for our own security, to promote it elsewhere.
Shortly after 9/11, President Bush rightly said to the nations of the world “You are either with us or against us.” That is true. You are either part of, and willing to help defend, the Free World or you are with the unfree. The latter are at best, playing a double-game. Among them are nations like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China and Russia – all of whom profess friendship, but are simultaneously working to support our enemies and undermine the interests of the Free World.
In theory, it is possible carefully to make tactical arrangements with such states. As a practical matter, however, doing so usually results in a loss of moral clarity and an overlooking of the unfriendly, if not overtly hostile, things they do. Examples include successive U.S. administrations; giving the Saudis a pass as they continue to underwrite Islamofascist proselytizing and terror; tolerating the training of terrorists in and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction from Pakistan; ignoring China’s arms and oil deals with our Islamist enemies; and overlooking wholesale Russian transfers to the PRC of weapons designed to kill Americans.
4) It harkens back to a time when the American people understood that they had a critical role to play in the war effort, just as they do at the moment. Today, as in the past, we need to fight as though our lives, fortunes and freedom depend on it, for indeed they do. We need to put the country on a true war footing in which every American can and must be asked to play a part in order to preserve the Free World.
Now is, in short, the time for a return to first principles. Properly labeling the present conflict is not a panacea. But making it clear that we are engaged in nothing less than a War for the Free World will make it easier to take the steps necessary, both at home and abroad, to secure the victory we literally cannot live without."
The Islamist culture sees restraint and tolerance as weakness. If we cut and run, those lives that have been lost, thusfar will have been wasted. If we can engineer a relatively-secure, stable Iraq and Afghanistan, those lives will not have been wasted. Casey Sheehan's life was not wasted, unless his mother gets her way.